Keith Laybourn
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Discrimination and decline
Greyhound racing in Britain, 1945 to the 1960s
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Greyhound racing survived the Second World War very much intact and experienced an immediate post-war boom. However, the fuel crisis of 1946–47 led to the introduction of discriminatory fuel controls and restrictions by the first Attlee Labour government followed by taxation on the greyhound tote and upon bookmakers in 1948. This affected both the large National Greyhound Racing Society tracks, that depended upon tote betting for their livelihood, and the small flapping tracks which were more dependent upon the bookmakers to attract bettors to earn them gate money. There may have been other factors at play as the post-war British economy faced austerity, and as the Labour government felt that it was protecting industrial productivity, but the continued hostility towards greyhound racing seems to have led to a tipping point where betting on the on-course tote and with the on-course bookmakers declined and was transferred to off-course betting, which was not taxed. From that period onwards crowds declined, the tote takes declined, and tracks began to close.

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Going to the dogs

A history of greyhound racing in Britain, 1926–2017


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